Directions: Please provide detailed and elaborate responses to the following questions. Your responses should include examples from the reading assignments, if possible.
1. Do you feel that you have chosen your own moral values, or have your moral values been imposed on you by your parents, school, peers, and society? To the extent that your moral values are imposed on you, can you do anything about changing them? What can you do? Your response to this question should be at least one half of one page in length.
2. Explain the difference between ethics and morality. Your response to this question should be at least one half of one page in length.
3. Explain the difference between cultural relativism and ethical relativism. Do you think that the fact that people disagree about moral right and wrong shows that ethical relativism is true? Explain. Your response to this question should be at least one half of one page in length.
4. Following are four ethical problems. How, if at all, would an act utilitarian solution differ from a rule utilitarian solution in each case? Your response to each example should be at least one half of one page in length; your response to this question, therefore, should be at least two pages in length.
a. An aide is conferring with the president of the United States: “Mr. President, it is imperative that you win the upcoming election. If you do not, subversives will take over the government. This could spell the end of our government as we know it. We could present the public with all the facts and let them decide, but that would only alarm and panic them. There’s another way, and that is to use the enormous financial connections of this administration to manipulate and mold public opinion. This, it is true, will necessitate illegal election contributions, misrepresentation of facts, and considerable fancy footwork in the campaign. But it is an immediate, practical, and judicious solution in the best interests of the nation.”
b. The daughter of a very rich and important public figure has been kidnapped. The kidnappers threaten to murder the young woman unless her father delivers $250,000 in ransom money. Authorities have told him that if he does so, he will only be encouraging future terrorist activities that will invariably involve more people, more suffering, and more deaths.
c. Taxpayer Smith decides that there are plenty of things he dislikes about the way the U.S. government is run: exorbitant defense spending, collusion between business and government, mismanaged funds, and so on. As a result, he is contemplating not paying his income taxes.
d. You have five friends are exploring some caves when a cave-in traps you all in a large chamber. The only way out is a small hole just big enough for a thin person to crawl through. Tom, who is very thick around the waist, is the first to crawl into the hole and gets stuck. For two days you all try to pull and push him out but only wedge him in tighter. The air is becoming hard to breathe because oxygen is running out. One of you has a small dynamite charge that you can use to blow his body out of the hole, although this will kill him. You all must decide whether to kill him to save the five of you who are all thin people, or leave him in the hole where he will probably survive once help comes but you will surely die in the next few hours.